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The process of blacks in the Diaspora (Gambia) Religious Culture - Research Paper Example

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African Diaspora and Effects on Religious Cultures Africans from Gambia One of the largest forced migrations in history is attributed to the Trans Atlantic slave trade. An estimated 10 to 11 million Africans were transported as slaves between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries…
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The process of blacks in the Diaspora (Gambia) Religious Culture
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Download file to see previous pages Ghana sported thirty six out of the total forty two slave fortresses. In addition to Ghana, another eight African locations were utilised for shipping slaves. These included Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Bight of Benin, Bight of Biafra, Gold Coast, South East Africa, Central Africa and Senegambia. (Brown, 2000) The brunt of the slave trade was mostly borne by central and west Africa. West Africa alone contributed around three fifths of the total slave populations supplied. It is estimated that one half of slaves were exported to South America while 42% went to the Caribbean, 7% to North America and 2% went to Central America. The subsequent influence of these exported slaves was instrumental for culture in these regions. The focus of this text is to trace the religious influences of African slaves from the Senegambia region. African Americans were faced with two challenges. On the one hand they were trying to establish an independent identity and on the other hand they were creating various religious traditions. These religious traditions can be approximated in three articulate movements. The first stream represented results of the initial African contact with Christianity from Europe. The emerging religion was more African in character both liturgically and theologically. The second stream represented an extension of the first stream whereby religious practices developed in Africa migrated to the Americas. Though these beliefs and practices were modified in the Americas but the predominant influence remained African which aided in this stream being distinct. The third and final stream saw the amalgamation of borrowed ideals and concepts from Islam, Christianity and Judaism. These faiths and their concepts were woven as a novel fabric with visions of Africa as a historical power and in some instances as a future destination. These streams are discussed below to promote an understanding of religious influences under Diaspora. The first stream represented Christian influences permeating into Africans often in direct proportion to the social class in question. The higher classes had lowest African influence and greatest Christian influence and vice versa. Traditional practices of hoodoo and voodoo as well as other derivatives of primitive West and West Central African religions crept into the newly adopted Christian faith. This was all the more apparent in the American South. Religious services saw the use of songs and dancing as well as the possession by the Holy Ghost during these services. Similarly the Caribbean witnessed Christianity imbued with overwhelming African content. This hybrid religion was connected with obeah, the use of supernatural powers to cause harms to others and to myalism, the use of herbs and spiritual resources in order to combat witchcraft and evil spells. Alternatively the religions of convince and kumina also took root. Convince involved respect for the Christian diety along with an active veneration of ancestors by spiritual healers known better as Bongo men. In a similar manner, kumina held ancestors in great veneration and ranked them after the sky gods and earthly deities. In contrast to the above, the second stream was more prominently experienced in Cuba and Brazil where reinvented African religion was the centre of religious attention. The various ethnic kinds of African slaves that were brought to Brazil maintained distinct identities by sticking to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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